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  • Discipline(s): Psychology
  • Available: Fall Semester 2022 Spring Semester 2022 Summer Session I
  • Course Type: Standard Courses
  • Taught in: English
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: No

PSYC 290: Intercultural Communication

Note:  This course was formerly COIN 290.

Course Description
This course serves as an introduction to contemporary concepts, practices, and processes of interpersonal communication in an intercultural perspective. Throughout this class, students will acquire the methodologies and knowledge to engage critically with their personal experiences abroad as intercultural communicators. They will participate in critical assessment of intercultural communication theories and apply the explicit goal of addressing a variety of topics. These topics range from the nature of language, culture and society, to analysis of verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal communication, underlying meaning in discourse, representation of individual stereotypes and prejudices. A strong focus will be given to the relationship between one’s linguistic, cultural and social identity, and relevant topics will be deeply discussed and applied with hands-on activities. Students will observe communicative events in their context, at various levels of “interculturality”, keeping in mind that all types of interpersonal communication are ultimately intercultural. This course will also help students better navigate the intricacies of Italian cultural identities and their own intercultural communication practices during their study abroad experience.

Students will be expected to bring personal insights into the classrooms and use communication theories to understand, analyze, and evaluate intercultural experiences. Questions that they will examine include the following: How is communication scientifically investigated? What are the different components that are relevant in a communication event? What are different elements to communication, e.g., verbal, paraverbal, non-verbal, as well as some visual elements? What is the role of different languages in different contexts of usage? What is the relationship between language, culture, society and one’s? The answers to these issues will be explored through lectures, class discussions, readings, writing assignments, and research activities of everyday interactions. 

Course Objectives
By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically discuss basic concepts of ICC models and theories
  • Prepare role-plays and perform simulations of communication events
  • Better understand their own ICC experience in Italy giving concrete personal examples
  • Demonstrate how interpersonal communication works basically and in its intercultural dimension
  • Analyze single conversational moves (discriminating between techniques, procedures and strategies)
  • Apply consciously communication techniques, procedures and strategies in their interaction
  • Recognize and overcome potential communication problems and conflicts
  • Generate a new communication attitude towards people from different social and cultural contexts/backgrounds
  • Critically assess the relationship between language, cultural and social identity
  • Learn communication techniques to solve intercultural and interpersonal conflicts

Course Materials
Piller, Ingrid. Intercultural Communication, A critical introduction, Edinburgh University Press (2nd Edition), 2017.
Mandatory course reader.